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The Jeneary Journal, Week 16 (April 27, 2023)


Things are winding down here at the Statehouse as we prepare to adjourn for the year. Next week, the house will be voting on the various budget bills for Fiscal Year 2024 which will need to pass before we leave. Tomorrow, the 28th, is the 110th day of session, which marks the final scheduled day of the 2023 session. We have worked hard to move bills through the process efficiently this session, and hope to finish things up next week.

Progress on Budget Negotiations

  • There was no floor action in the Iowa House this week as the budget subcommittee chairs focused on negotiating the details of the state budget with their counterparts in the Senate.
  • Last week, we announced joint budget targets with the Senate. The agreed upon number for total spending for FY 24 is $8.516 billion. This represents 88.25% of ongoing revenue, a responsible number to ensure we can continue to implement the income tax cuts promised to Iowans.
  • The joint budget targets for each general fund budget can be found in the table below. These budget targets represent significant investment into the things we hear about from Iowans the most such as education, mental health care, and workforce initiatives.
  • So far, we have reached agreements with the Senate on a number of budgets. The Administration and Regulation, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Transportation, and Health and Human Services budgets have all been agreed to and have passed out of the House Appropriations committee.
  • Republicans in the Statehouse have proven time and time again that we can lower the tax burden while adequately funding Iowans’ priorities.
  • Some highlights from the budgets agreed to so far include:
    • $13 million in increased state funding towards mental health and substance abuse Medicaid rates. In total with federal funding, this is over $35 million increase to ensure that the state can recruit and retain mental health providers to care for Iowans in need.
    • $15 million of state funding increase to Iowa’s nursing homes to put them on a stable path. Unfortunately, Iowa’s nursing homes have faced significant challenges with workforce, complex patients, and closures in recent years.
    • Funding for four annual family medicine obstetric fellowships every year. In order to participate, they must commit to remaining in Iowa and serving rural and underserved areas for 5 years after completing their fellowship.
    • Establishes a Public Assistance Modernization fund to enhance IT capabilities for Iowa’s welfare programs. This will streamline applications for Iowans as well as ensure that those on the programs are truly eligible for the entitlement program.
    • Provides a $500,000 increase to more options for maternal support program that will focus on promoting healthy pregnancies and childbirth through nonprofits that provide pregnancy support services.

Reigning in Divisive DEI Bureaucracies at Regent Universities

  • Each year, the Regent Universities in Iowa are spending at least $2 million in salaries on so-called “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” positions on campus.
  • While this might sound nice, the real implications of these DEI efforts are not inclusive or diverse at all. Far too often, their efforts are incredibly divisive and are aimed at silencing conservative voices and imposing ideological conformity on campus.
  • Iowa House Republicans are committed to protecting the free speech rights of ALL college students and faculty members, not just those that are in lockstep with the Left.
  • At the very least, we can ensure that taxpayer dollars are not being used to suppress diversity of opinion and create an unsafe space for conservatives.
    • Here are just a couple of examples of taxpayer dollars being spent on divisive DEI positions.
      • University of Iowa’s Associate Vice President for DEI: $255,000 a year.
      • Iowa State’s Vice President of DEI: $247,000 a year.
      • University of Northern Iowa’s Chief Diversity Officer and Director for Diversity, Inclusion & Social Justice: over $200,000 a year combined.
  • We have worked with the regents to develop language to add to the Education budget that will begin to reign in these misleading DEI bureaucracies and return our Universities’ focus to academic excellence, and creating a safe space for students to explore and share a wide variety of thoughts and opinions.

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